Oakland (4-7) at West Virginia (4-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 19, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: WVU Coliseum (14,000) -- Morgantown, West Virginia. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Oakland 3-0, WVU 2-0. Away Record: Oakland 1-7, WVU 0-2. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-0, WVU 2-3. Conference Record: Oakland 0-0, WVU 0-0. Series Record: West Virginia leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Having spent most of their time on the road during the first five weeks of the season, the West Virginia Mountaineers are back home for just the third time as they welcome the Oakland Golden Grizzlies for a non-conference battle at WVU Coliseum on Wednesday night.
The Mountaineers have not had an easy time of it in the early going, currently a game under .500 after nine games, all but two of which have been played outside of Morgantown. The team did manage to win three in a row against the likes of VMI, Marshall and Virginia Tech, but more recently was taken down by Duquesne in Pittsburgh (60-56) on Dec. 11, and then suffered an awkward 81-66 setback to nationally-ranked Michigan and former head coach John Beilein over the weekend in Brooklyn, New York.
As for the Golden Grizzlies, they've experienced quite a bit of disappointment to this point, losing seven of 11 outings. However, Oakland is coming off a 70-68 win against Valparaiso just two nights ago at home, marking the team's second win in the last three contests.
West Virginia won the only previous meeting between the teams, that being in the 2010 season opener for both squads also at the Coliseum by a score of 95-71.
Ryan Bass, Duke Mondy and Travis Bader all scored 16 points for the Grizzlies on Monday, with Mondy connecting on a layup and a free throw over the final 20 seconds of regulation in order to bring the team all the way back from a 68-59 deficit with under five minutes remaining. The defense for Oakland was a bit lax overall, allowing the visitors to shoot 50.9 percent from the floor through 40 minutes, but when it counted most the Grizzlies rose to the occasion. Corey Petros added 12 points and six rebounds for Oakland, which means the only starter not in double figures was Drew Valentine. Despite shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor over 11 games, which is actually lower than his 38.9 percent behind the three-point line, Bader is still the leading scorer for the program with 19.6 ppg. Petros adds another 14.4 ppg and is first with 6.9 rpg, but with as much as he and Bader handle the ball, you'd think they'd have more than just 17 combined assists at this juncture.
Of the 66 points scored by the Mountaineers in the loss against third-ranked Michigan at the new Barclays Center over the weekend, all but nine were tallied by guards. Terry Henderson led the way with 23 points, although he shot just 3-of-9 behind the 3-point line as the team again struggled out on the perimeter with just 6-of-21 shooting. Juwan Staten added 12 points and five assists and Eron Harris 10 points off the bench as he nailed all three of his field goal attempts and both shots at the free-throw line. Playing a mere nine minutes, Deniz Kilicli again proved to be of little consequence as he missed on all three of his shot attempts and was held scoreless. Kilicli, who was supposed to be a stabilizing force in the paint this season, is averaging just 8.8 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Then again, the team has just one player scoring in double figures in Staten with his 10.8 ppg, so Kilicli is not the only one struggling on the roster right now.
One would assume that the Mountaineers would be able to get up for this game in front of the hometown crowd, but their play this season as been questionable at best, so expect Oakland to push WVU quite a bit on Wednesday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: West Virginia 72, Oakland 66
12/19 10:38:51 ET